AN UNBELIEVABLE LIFE - Authorised Biography of Lynn Santer

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She counts Hollywood superstars and senior politicians among her closest friends.

She’s walked with wild lions in Africa and through the corridors of power in  London’s Houses of Parliament.  

Her philanthropic contributions have helped children in Third World countries learn to read, and exposed ongoing brutal atrocities against endangered big game by a former US President.  

She’s piloted light aircraft, acted as special consultant to the British Government on an eleven billion pound per annum legislative reform, planned covert missions with ex Special Forces commandos into Africa, brought Saddam Hussein’s personal   pilot together with an ultra orthodox Israeli Rabbi in a peace initiative, dated  multi-millionaires, authored the authorised biography of Australia’s most private man, the original wild man and wildlife warrior Alby Mangels, dived with sharks, and survived the crazed assault of a “fatal attraction” psycho.  

Lynn Santer aka “Auntie Lynn” has indeed led an unbelievable life, so much so she rarely talks about it for fear people, well, wouldn’t believe her. 

Never before has she openly spoken about the intimate details, and exposed all the evidence to back up her stories, as she does now to close friend and fellow author, Sandra Rogers. 

This grippingly page-turning biography drips with celebrity, intrigue, triumph against Herculean odds, and achievements that truly defy belief.

……….Floyd Cowan – former Editor-in-Chief XL Magazine. 

A whirlwind of a life, and a woman! Lynn Santer takes on the world with  inspirational determination and passion.

……….Kirstine Lumb – Journalist, A Current Affair, Channel Nine

'This is an extraordinarily vivid portrait of a larger-than-life personality whose amazing adventures could probably fill several more volumes. Lynn Santer is an inspiration!'

……….Jenny Brown, New Idea

In Store Price: $35.95 
Online Price:   $34.95

ISBN: 978-1-921731-03-7  
Format: B5 Paperback
Number of pages: 350
Genre: Non Fiction

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By the same author:

It Begins But Never Ends

Beyond Armageddon

Waves of Torment




Author: Sandra L. Rogers
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English


About the Author 

Sandra Lorraine Rogers was born in Sydney Australia of Scottish Russian heritage and finished her senior education at Manly Girls’ High School. Sandra has lived in Cairns Nth Queensland and on the Greek Island of Santorini for two years where she found the inspiration to write her first book It Begins But Never Ends.

She is an Advanced PADI diver and with her husband, Bruce, has dived shipwrecks around the world. She now lives on the Gold Coast with her husband where they both run Zeus Publications.

Sandra is a member of the Australian Writers’ Guild and has been a guest speaker at various Writers’ Groups including the renowned Somerset Celebration of Literature. As well as writing three novels she has studied screenplay writing and has written four feature-length screenplays Waves of Torment, The Telemarketer, No Hope in Hell, and It Begins But Never Ends along with writing and directing several short films.

Dedication from Sandra L Rogers 

Only when you have been the best and worst of friends

can you truly understand a person: 

For my special friend Lynn


This amazing woman has lived at least five lifetimes in one life span. Lynn Santer personifies curiosity and compassion, daring and dedication, adventure and altruism. She’s a real Alpha Babe, combining glamour, honour, courage, and wisdom.  

From advising high-level financial policy makers to helping save big cats in Africa to writing a charming and popular series of books for children, Lynn’s indefatigable energy and inherent sense of justice permeates every aspect of her life. Her sense of humour and lovely gracefulness shine through in the words and photos of An Unbelievable Life. 

If you want inspiration by example, read about Lynn. If you want to illustrate to others how persistence and personality can make real changes in the world, read about Lynn. If you want a pattern for successful innovation and collaboration for your group, read about Lynn. If you just want a good read, read about Lynn.  

Sandra L. Rogers has presented this action-packed, celebrity-strewn, photo-filled life of Lynn Santer in an engaging way that does not resort to puffery – none is needed as the facts themselves are quite incredible. The writing style is accessible without losing perspective and handles well the flow of time and events.  

I look forward to reading the next biography of Lynn Santer, Part Two in another thirty years or so. I’m sure it – and she – will still be just as amazing. 

Pamela Jaye Smith

Author, Mythologist, Filmmaker

Alpha Babe Academy – cofounder

MYTHWORKS – founder



Dedication from Lynn 

First and foremost to my parents whose strength, wisdom, dignity, grace and guidance have made me who I am today. To know my parents is to know me for I am, without question, a product in equal parts not only of their genetics but of their characters, for which I am humbly grateful. 

With eternal love to my sister, my nephews who are the true loves of my life, and my brother-in-law. 

With eternal devotion to all the animals who’ve touched my soul. 

To the closest, best, and most supportive friends a person could ever be blessed with: Liza Rothman nee Elizabeth Abrams aka Dizzy Lizzy, Mandy Marks wherever you are today, Darren Bracken, Deidre Anderson, Roselyn Poon, Barbara and Clive Fagenbaum, Neira Jones nee Benchabane, Mike Pilcher, Roland Slee, Juanita Carberry, Simon Lever, the beautiful Tippi Hedren, Shane Greaves, Sandra and Bruce Rogers, Clinton Smith, John and Joy Beacham, Gary Vernon Shugg, Marianne Capocci, Barry Crocker AM, Darren Russell, Rabbi Gurevitch, Ali Al-Wahabi, Robyn Wigmore, Charles Plumb, Peter Coyne, Sir John Butterfill MP, Roger Gale MP, Chris Daykin CB, my wonderful neighbours, Jean and Guy Thomas, all my amazing cousins – especially cousin Laurence, Lindsay Barrett, the inspirational Meryl Harrison, and Mike (my cousin the judge, “I don’t get out much”) Shelton. 

To those who have positively influenced and guided me: Malcolm Payne, Sir John Butterfill MP, Roger Gale MP, Chris Daykin CB, The Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare, Alain Bois, Peter Coyne, the fabulous Rabbi Nir Gurevitch, Rabbi Eddie Jackson, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, and Narda Newman-Harris. 

To my Russian goddaughter and her mother, Alina and Irina Young nee Andreyuk. 

To the men who’ve been part of my life – you know who you are. 

To my ranger and tracker in Africa: Eric and Derrick.  

And to those whose work to save wildlife I admire so much: Meryl Harrison, Tippi Hedren/Shambala/The ROAR Foundation, Virginia McKenna OBE/The Born Free Foundation, Patrick Martin-Vegue/The Endangered Tiger Fund, Mark Townend and everyone in the RSPCA, The AfriCat Foundation, and Conservation Corporation Africa who left me with the thought…  

“May the footprints you leave behind show you walked in kindness to all living things.”

Foreword by Tippi Hedren 



Think of all the ideas, careers, the goals, the wishes, the desires you’ve had in your lifetime, or still have flitting around your brain. 

Perhaps you have wanted to travel to exotic countries, climb the highest mountain, and persevere in getting legislation passed regarding a major issue. 

Perhaps flying a plane, writing books about special people or a series of books for children that will let their imaginations fly with delight and teach them values and morals. 

Being friends with celebrities around the world, calling several tigers by name are just some of the accomplishments of Lynn Santer. 

You will be in awe and very likely a bit envious of this energetic, undefeatable, charming, loving woman. 

I’ve known Lynn to be a most prolific writer; creativity springs from her mind while her heavily-lashed eyes sparkle with enthusiasm and excitement. 

Few can keep up with Lynn; she’s a great friend and a woman to be admired.  

I do! 

With love to Lynn Santer, thank you for gracing us with your presence on this Planet Earth. 

.................Tippi Hedren

~         Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic star of “The Birds” and “Marnie”

~         President of The ROAR Foundation

Tributes to Lynn

“Lynn Santer was lumbered with the wrong name when she was born… it was only a small slip of the pen on her birth certificate, but she is actually the daughter “Mr and Mrs CLAUS”.  In her lifetime, (so far), she has given as much joy to the children of the world as her parents could have wished for; she has been tireless in her pursuit of unselfishly dedicating so much of, not only her time, but her own money to see the fulfilment of her dream; that dream, is that “every” child should be given a free book to start and enhance their lives. Her generosity knows no bounds, and she has certainly enriched my life with her friendship and goodwill. Thank you Lynn Santer, for being my friend… I’ve been a very good boy this year… a Porsche would be nice!”

Barry Hugh Crocker. AM


“Lynn is a rare and unique personality combining determination, intellect and talent with a warmth and caring character which endears her to all who have the privilege to know her!”

Sir John Butterfill, MP (UK)

~         Founding member and Vice Chairman of the parliamentary group FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments)

~         Chairman of the All Party Group on Occupational Pensions


“I feel very fortunate that Lynn has crossed my path as an author and I have the greatest respect for her diligent way of compiling my extraordinary life. Lynn you’re truly a wonderful woman.”

.........Alby Mangels


“Lynn is one of those rare people who tirelessly strives to make the world a better place.”

Virginia McKenna, OBE

~         Star of the immortal classic “Born Free”

~         President of the Born Free Foundation


“Lynn Santer is a passionate activist for the welfare of all G-d’s creatures and a talented individual who pursues peace and harmony for all mankind.”

............Rabbi Nir Gurevitch

~         Founding member of Lynn’s “Passion for Peace” team.


“Lynn’s energy is exhausting and her devotion to the cause of animal welfare tireless.”

Roger Gale, MP (UK)

~         Patron, Animals Worldwide

~         Former Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Animal Welfare

~         Former Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, UK. 


“Lynn’s life proves WC Fields wrong. Working with animals and children can have wonderful results.”

.......Derryn Hinch.


“Lynn Santer, a lady with penetrating intelligence mixed with humility, a great sense of humour and kindness without excessive sentimentality. That’s what I call a perfect recipe to meet life’s challenges.” 

Captain Ali Al-Wahabi

~         Former personal pilot for Saddam Hussein

~         Founding member of Lynn’s “Passion for Peace” team.


Also from Ali: “I would like to offer my consulting services to anyone who does the wrong thing by you – because – as the man who escaped from one of the worst tyrants the world has ever known – YOU ARE SERIOUSLY THE WRONG PERSON TO CROSS!!!”


“Lynn Santer is an extraordinary human being who has used her special gift of writing to make a difference. I consider it a joy and a privilege to have been part of ‘Passion for Peace’ which she created.”

Robyn Wigmore

~         Spokesperson for World Vision

~         Founding member of Lynn’s “Passion for Peace” team. 




The philosophy by which Lynn lives her life… 


“~To laugh often and much~

~To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children~

~To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends~

~To appreciate beauty~

~To find the best in others~

~To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition~

~To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived…

This is to have succeeded”

 …...Ralph Waldo Emerson






In the beginning 


Time: 10:45am

Date: 18th July 1961

Place: Middlesex Hospital London


In the beginning…

There was Neville and Clare…

Then there was Lynn… 


Heat shimmered across the burning asphalt outside on one of the hottest July days in years, almost as though it was scorching an African savannah, a scene that was to hold great relevance for Lynn’s future, not the sidewalks of old London Town. Clare Santer struggled with the final contractions that would herald the birth of her first child. After enduring a heart-breaking miscarriage with her first pregnancy, and now ten days overdue, this baby was anxiously and lovingly awaited. Being told by the gynaecologist that the labour would take a while Neville had gone back to work in a hospital on the other side of London. An hour later a message that the baby had arrived spurred Neville to drop everything, grab a huge bunch of red roses and race to his wife’s side, unaware of what had transpired just moments before.  

“Where’s Neville?” Clare had yelled through pain-filled panting breaths as she grabbed the hand of the young student doctor who was assisting with the birth. Digging her nails deep into the student’s hand (leaving scars he still bares to this day) the young doctor forced a compassionate smile through tear-stained eyes, probably knowing the pain he endured was infinitesimal compared to the raging contractions of birth. Finally the ordeal was over and a six pound five ounce baby girl splashed into the world. Through a face covered in sweat and tears Clare tenderly held her first child. Big round blue eyes peered out from a mop of tousled hair and full pink lips. Clare looked down at the baby’s fingers. “She has long fingernails!” she exclaimed, just as Neville strode through the door clutching the bunch of roses. He bent down and kissed his wife. Lynn looked at her mother and father, her huge soulful eyes seeming to light up. There was an awe of knowing in those eyes as if to say, “Well I’m here now, so what’s happening?” She was born with attitude. 

From the moment she was born, and even before in the womb, Lynn’s mind was too active to waste time sleeping. After trying everything to soothe their little bundle of energy into a peaceful sleep, Clare and Neville eventually took their doctor’s perhaps radical advice and tried a drop of whiskey with the milk in desperation. To no avail; instead Lynn loved it so much she started jumping up and down in her cot yelling out, “Whikkie! More whikkie!” They didn’t know then but later found out that Lynn had an upside down metabolism where everything worked backwards!! So the whiskey was a stimulant instead of a sedative! I would say she can blame that doctor for her affinity for alcohol today! To explain Lynn’s excitement at wanting ‘whikkie’ to shocked guests Clare would just say, “Oh, she’s just saying she wants another bickie.”   

The doctor’s final answer to that dilemma was, “Well, I’m very sorry that you need to sleep, Clare, because it’s blatantly obvious that your child doesn’t!” 

Hoping she may lull the irrepressible spirit of her infant dynamo into something resembling a restful state Clare thought, if she took a doona into the nursery feigning sleep beside her cot, perhaps Lynn would drift into slumber land. As soon as she thought Lynn was asleep, Clare stealthily crawled out on her hands and knees, silent as a stalking feline. Nobody really thought that was going to work did they? The moment the exhausted mother reached the nursery door Lynn started screaming again. Clare was just going to have to give up on the idea of sleep for a while. 

As Lynn grew into a toddler, entertaining guests also became a challenge for Clare and Neville. Hungry for any source of input, any stimulation that would satisfy her insatiable thirst for knowledge about anything at all, Lynn always knew when something was happening and naturally wanted to be a part of it. When guests went to the toilet (which in those days was upstairs, close to Lynn’s bedroom) she would pounce like a lurking predator, capturing the unsuspecting prey with animated conversation. Of course her parents tried to shut her in her bedroom at night, but even now Lynn yearns for open doors, open windows, and wide spaces. When the bedroom door was closed on her, infant Lynn began to stutter! Horrified at what they might be doing to their child’s psyche, instead of closing the door, she was kept secured in her environment by means of an expanding gate, keeping the little rascal inside but allowing her to see out. You can imagine, can’t you, the determined attitude and eager mind of little Lynn standing waiting by that gate for the inevitable first guest to need to go to the toilet? No one ever escaped.  

Neville adored his daughter; she was the son he never had. From an early age Lynn displayed the strength, determination and audacity that was to become her character throughout life, so much so that her father nicknamed her, ‘Young Sir’ and ‘Fred’. In return Lynn idolised her father, his powerful influence shaping the blossom of her youth that would rapidly ripen into a powerhouse of an adult.  

The first animal to share Lynn’s life was a female black Labrador called Soraya, or to give her full title, Fredwell Soraya of Tring, also known as Nanny. Lynn was uncommonly asleep when the puppy arrived and on the following morning crawled into her parents’ bedroom and popping her head over one side of the bed, Soraya simultaneously popped her head over the other, and little Lynn yelled, “Doggy!” The dog cowered in terror. From that moment on until the day her ‘Nanny’ died fifteen years later they were inseparable. Loving and caring for all animals became so much a part of Lynn’s daily world she even tried to save worms she found injured. The only exception to this rule were spiders, an entrenched phobia she would be forced to face on a grand scale in Africa in later years, and wasps (which Lynn considers one of the most evil creations based on the horribly inhumane way they consume nourishment).  

From a tiny child singing and dancing filled Lynn’s heart with joy. Her passion, and the talent that was yet to emerge, came once again from her father who filled the house with music. Neville had reached the standard of concert pianist when he was but a child himself, until his parents took the piano out of the house in order to ensure he focused on his final exams. Although appreciative of an eclectic mix of compositions, Neville’s deepest appreciation of music was firmly entrenched in the classics. It wasn’t until Lynn was about nine years old that Neville bought a piano back into the house and on that day Lynn just sat down and played. She had never played before; it was just natural to her. From then on she took piano lessons.  

Singing was also a natural gift for Lynn. Never ever having had a lesson I found this hard to believe when, only about four years ago, I heard her sing for the first time. We had spent the morning having a champagne breakfast at our unit with the usual friends. This led to an all day party as Clinton (a figure who will play a significant role in this story much later on) offered to cook his famous spaghetti. With Clinton cooking up a culinary storm in the kitchen, only Clare, Zoe (Clinton’s wife) Bruce and I remained, not taking much notice of Lynn inching towards our hi-fi with more than a few champagnes under her skirt. The next moment we all stood transfixed as a hauntingly powerful voice filled our modest edifice, surrounding us with sensual passion and power reminiscent of, well, nothing I’d heard before actually. When we looked up it was Lynn singing, “Wishing you were here again,” from Phantom of the Opera in the most beautiful and commanding contralto voice you could ever imagine …. one that could be heard a block away. My mouth dropped open and stayed that way until she stopped. Bruce’s eyes were as large as saucers but Clare, who had heard it all before knew that song was Lynn’s way of saying to her (by then) late father, “You’re always with me, Dad.” Choking back tears for the love that had by then been lost, Clare watched proudly as the rest of us were utterly dumbfounded. Every time I hear Lynn sing, which is not as often as I would like, I still find it hard to believe she isn’t performing in the opera houses around the world.   

It’s all in the genes, they say! Her grandfather could sing and her maternal great aunt had a beautiful soprano voice. But singing was not the discipline of the arts that Lynn was to become known for. 

Writing happened very early in Lynn’s life; before she knew actual words. As a child she would scribble pictures around the wall of her room and when finally she could understand words and their meaning it was full steam ahead. The little hands were never idle. With her imagination running wild, stories were churned out daily, one of which was destined to change not only Lynn’s world, but the lives of hundreds of children across the globe. 

Along with writing, Lynn’s love of animals was growing. Her father, a pharmaceutical chemist, at that stage Managing Director for the UK of an international French firm called Servier, had a penchant for filmmaking (another passion that was to become pivotal in Lynn’s life). As with anything the Santers set their minds to, nothing was ever by halves. Neville built an entire cinema, complete with projection room, usherette seats, and the works, in the attic of their London home. There he screened the many ‘David Attenborough’ style documentaries he would make about his travels around the world. Whenever he travelled with Servier, Neville took a small case for his clothes, and a massive one containing all his Super Eight camera gear. Of course little Lynn was thrilled with anything and everything her father did, and watched all his films of faraway places with typical girlish enthusiasm. But one place in particular resonated with her, mesmerising her with a fascination and passion that was to fan a fire ultimately leading her to cross swords with some of the most powerful men on earth. The deep, dark, mysterious, mystical, magical continent that was Mother Africa drew her like a moth to a flame. Of course we’re all fascinated by any documentary on Africa, but these films were particularly special to Lynn because they were made by her idol, her father. A million questions tumbled through her young mind, questions Neville was only too happy to answer. Becoming more and more entranced and enchanted by his stories, Lynn’s young mind built Africa up into something so enormous that when she became an adult she feared going there, in case her childhood memories were dashed. But go there she would, not once but on many occasions, leading to turning points in her life the best fiction writers could not have imagined. But before that she would start with something more appropriate to her diminutive stature as a pre-teenager, even then seeking to make the world a better place one mind at a time. 

On 24th July 1967, her sister Karen was born in the same hospital that brought her big sister into the world. From the beginning Lynn was very protective of Karen, behaving more like a mother than a sister. She would dress her living doll in matching clothes and fuss over her as though she might break if not cared for properly. Of course Karen looked up to Lynn as the big sister six years her senior. Perhaps because of Lynn’s dominant personality, Karen’s demeanour was in stark contrast to her big sister’s. Karen was quiet, never displaying the strong emotions that lay beneath her outwardly angelic appearance. While the boisterous and outgoing Lynn climbed trees, made mud pies, and rarely remained still or quiet for long, Karen liked to eat and sleep - the two things Lynn never seemed to master as a child (and she hasn’t mastered the sleep aspect to this day). They were opposites in every respect yet had a deep bond of love and belonging that holds them together in a profound friendship, even if Lynn does still feel like a protective mother. In their teenage years Lynn’s antics used to embarrass the hell out of the far more demure Karen, leading to a birthday card from Lynn to her sister one year that read: “I’m smiling because you’re my sister … and laughing my arse off because there’s nothing you can do about it!” 

It was at the tender age of nine years old that Lynn wrote The Magical Scarecrow, the story of one lonely scarecrow who came alive at night and got into all sorts of adventures. After she finished the story and was happy about it, her clever little mind said, ‘Ah! I know what to do!’ Lynn got out her favourite Winnie the Pooh book and looked for the address of the publisher in the front, writing it down on an envelope. For some time Lynn’s grandmother had been giving her real stamps on a regular basis as gifts, and now she knew exactly what to do with them. Without anyone’s knowledge she somehow managed to post her story off to get published. With more stamps than she needed Lynn also posted a copy to the BBC TV children’s show ‘Jackanory’. 

Sometime later a parcel turned up for Lynn. Clare thought, ‘Oh my God! Who’s writing to my daughter?’  It was a reply from the Winnie the Pooh publishers with a copy of their latest book and a nice letter saying her story was very good but the content was not long enough and that she should write again when she was older. Lynn was jumping up and down with excitement when her parents said, “What sort of profession is this for a Jewish girl?” In Neville’s mind Lynn was more suited to becoming a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant and so dreams of becoming an author were dashed … for the moment.  

Clare had two close friends who both had children six months after Lynn was born: Irene and Ida produced Stephen and Elizabeth, so naturally it was assumed the three children of these three close friends would also become close friends. Today Elizabeth, now known as Liza and Lynn are the closest of friends (even if Lynn does affectionately call her “Dizzy Lizzy”). In fact Liza tells everyone, “Lynn has known me since I was an egg.” But the friendship didn’t exactly get off to a sterling start. Irene dressed Elizabeth in pristine white dresses of frilly lace and always kept her neat as a pin. To the overactive young Lynn, who’d rather be climbing trees and making mud pies with Stephen, the frilly little girl look didn’t work at all. To compound this, Lynn tired quickly of Clare constantly asking her why she couldn’t look more like Elizabeth, not realising this created a growing resentment for the child who would be her friend. Flushing with embarrassment Lynn confessed to me that she remembered on one occasion being told that Elizabeth was coming over to play and so she watched from the bedroom window to see when she would arrive, racing downstairs to push her out of the house the moment she did! This child was complex from the start! For some reason Elizabeth doesn’t seem to remember the incident, but Lynn ashamedly assured me it took place. 

Complex, determined and visionary, I couldn’t help wondering if there was also some latent psychic ability in this child when Lynn astonishingly dredged up one memory from nursery school that left me speechless. She remembered telling a little boy called Brett that one day she was going to grow up and live in Australia. How can you imagine she would say this, let alone remember it, and the boy’s name? 

Of course like any normal child there were many childhood friends, but Lynn (whom I believe to be a very old soul) was always more interested in mixing it with grown ups. During his tenure with Servier, Neville became immensely close to his fellow Managing Director in France, Alain Bois, and the man they collectively appointed as the Managing Director of New Zealand, Peter Coyne. Alain and Neville also appointed the MDs and Sales Managers of their South African and Australian branches, becoming friendly with all the men in question, but the bond between Alain, Peter and Neville was particularly strong, surviving over forty years until Peter was left the last one standing. Consequently Lynn grew up rubbing shoulders with senior executives from around the world, her hungry mind soaking up any and all information she could extract from these men during their frequent visits to London. In time she came to think of them all as uncles, uncles who would always look out for her whenever she travelled to one of their home countries. She has many fond memories of visiting Alain’s luxury apartment in Paris, his holiday home in Montpellier, and Peter’s property perched overlooking the famed Auckland volcano, Rangitoto. They would even meet up on independent travels around the world, and indeed on her first trip to Africa it was one of Neville’s colleagues who was tasked (as much as was possible) with keeping a watchful eye over his adventurous daughter. Peter was also to play a painful yet pivotally vital role in the life of the Santer’s in years to come, a final act of friendship and respect for the first of their triumvirate to pass from this mortal coil. It was a camaraderie that endured decades, hemispheres, divorces, betrayals, laughter, adventure and breakthroughs. But in the early years whenever ‘Uncle Peter’ visited, Karen and Lynn would delight at listening to him playing the guitar (even if he did position himself in front of the fridge when Clare was trying to make breakfast for everyone).

Neville worked for Servier for ten years and those were heady days. The days of first class travel, champagne and roses, an au pair working at home, and lunches at Maxims in Paris.

Due to Alain’s and Neville’s efforts the company went big, and so did the Santers’ lifestyle. Then Doctor Naud (pronounced “No”) came into the company and things changed. The arrival of Doctor “No” (yes, really!) spelled the end of an era. Neither Neville nor Alain liked what was happening. On the night the pair were up for a prestigious award, Neville refused to accept the award and left the company. Alain, being French, accepted his and then walked out. One by one every Managing Director that Neville and Alain had appointed around the world joined the exodus. Aside from their friendship there was something all these men shared in common: a fierce sense of honour and integrity, and if one didn’t think something was right, the chances were that none of them would. This placed the Santers in a difficult position. Neville had no job to go to, two young children and a mortgage. But his sense of honour was greater than almost anything, even if doing what he saw as the right thing did lead to some very anxious sleepless nights. 

After quitting Servier Pharmaceuticals Neville became Managing Director of Synthelabo Pharmaceuticals (another French company) before being offered a position at Norgine Pharmaceuticals. Norgine was the largest privately owned pharmaceutical company in the world at the time (owned by Peter Stein) and the terms of his employment were for two years in the UK followed by five years as Managing Director in Australia where he would establish the company for the Australasian region. Norgine had had an agency in Australia for 50 years, but no serious presence. The five years in Australia became a permanent position, and ultimately he was appointed Chairman before retiring. He began with Norgine in 1976 (UK) took over the Southern Hemisphere when the family emigrated in 1978, was appointed Chairman in 1996, and retired in 1998, at which point they moved to Queensland. The company went public in 2000. 

Servier’s rise to fame and fortune was off the back of an astonishingly successful drug called Ponderax. This was the first non-amphetamine related appetite suppressant (diet pill) on the market and took the world by storm. Rather than using amphetamines (that make you feel as though you don’t want to eat and ‘speeds’ you up) Ponderax’s active ingredient was fenfluramine, which works on the opposite side of the brain making you feel full (as opposed to not hungry) whilst slowing you down. In the laboratories of Servier in South Africa research technicians were looking into other uses for the pacifying quality of fenfluramine.   

Neville wasn’t afraid of much, and had tracked lions, taken small aircraft over active volcanos, and so on, but his Achilles heel was baboons – he was absolutely terrified of baboons. Walking into the research lab in South Africa one day they had a full grown male baboon in a cage. A full grown male can rip a man’s arm out without breaking a sweat. Very excited, the research technician said, “Hey, look at this…” and opened the cage. Neville stood there frozen in terror as this full grown male baboon leapt into his arms as gentle as a kitten. The derivative of fenfluramine had removed all traces of aggression and they were experimenting on using this drug for violent criminals. For one reason or another, research was never completed but this incident became the basis for Lynn’s father’s story The Meek Shall Inherit, which she wrote for him in 1999/2000.

Neville and Lynn had many lengthy discussions about the use of animals in medical experiments and while Lynn maintained her stance of violent opposition, although Neville didn’t like it either, he believed in ‘the greater good’. Back then there were no alternatives and many life-saving medical breakthroughs would not have been achieved without animal research. Today it is a different world and synthetic alternatives are available. The problem with synthetic alternatives is that they are hellishly costly compared to just using animals.

Now guess who is at the forefront of getting laws changed to enforce the use of synthetic alternatives? Lynn’s good friends Sir John Butterfill, MP (who is on one of the committees spearheading the campaign) and Roger Gale, MP. When Lynn was living in London 1994-1999 Roger was Chairman of the All Party Group on Animal Welfare and today is Chairman of the Conservative Party on Animal Welfare. He is also the man who is responsible for having succeeded in getting fox hunting banned in the UK. How did she come to meet and befriend these two British MPs when she immigrated to Australia in 1978 aged seventeen? Ah, well to find out the answer to that you will have to read on. 

At the tender age of nine years old (having submitted her first story for publication) Lynn also had her first boyfriend, Phillip Vine. Neville and Clare took the childhood sweethearts to see Humpty Dumpty on Ice, perhaps grinning (or perhaps shaking their heads) when their forward daughter made the first move being  bold enough to put her arm around him while they were watching the show. There was never anything timid about our Lynn! 


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